I really think I am a masochist after all.
Why else would I continually choose difficult--for me--endeavors? The easy? I guess, shrug; it bores me.
Some people out there can just run a few miles and be fine with that.
Not me, I need to run marathons. It isn't easy, ever. I do keep thinking it will get easy but so far it hasn't.
Some people get both their kids potty trained and think: Yeah! No more poop.
Not me, I get a puppy.
I guess I like a challenge.
I must because I generally think of myself as a lazy person. I really want things to be easy. And I even go so far as to think things should be easy but most things are not--for me. (See, life is hard! Dad, you were totally right about the "real world.")
So for things to be easy must not really be what I want in life after all because it seems like I continually choose to do things that-- for me-- are difficult and challenging-- if not fly completely in face of good sense.
I guess maybe masochist is just a fancy word for dumb ass.
A couple of weeks ago I was reading somewhere on the Internet an article about ultramarthoners and the effects of cortisol. The article said that the stress of running 50 miles causes the body to release cortisol and that causes runners to have that runner's high from endorphins. They said it can cause epiphanies --hallucinations even. Well, I didn't need to run 50 miles to have one--an epiphany that is. Maybe I got lucky because it is Lent and even though I am not Catholic I do have a lot of Catholic friends (guilt by association hahaha). And, I did celebrate fat Tuesday last Monday with a bunch of them. We even talked about Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. So maybe all that is why on Thursday's long run--the 2nd day of Lent--I had an epiphany. Or maybe it was just the cortisol.
Oh, here I am with some of my Catholic buddies celebrating fat Tuesday a day early:
So what was my epiphany?
Well to tell the truth, when I was discussing Shrove Tuesday with my friend I remembered a short story I had written. It is set in the forty days of Lent. One of the characters gives up her sanity for Lent, the other finds hers. So on my run on Thursday I was thinking about that story and out of the blue I remembered another story. It was the second story I had ever written. I wrote it almost 14 years ago.
There was a lot I liked about this story. My professor actually said he was jealous of the title and wished he had thought of it. How huge of a compliment is that? Which is also why I will not be blogging about the title since titles are not copyrighted and I'll just have to hope and chalk it up to ethics as to why he won't use it-- or anyone else from my writing class. I did at the time have a boyfriend read it. He liked it too. So much that he adapted it and made a short film based on it for a school project. He swears he gave me credit and that I gave him permission but I don't remember that and I really wasn't too happy about that he used my story-- mostly because I have never seen said film and he was, by that point, an ex boyfriend. Oh well.
At any rate this story has haunted me. It has always had problems that I could never reconcile. I had rewritten it once and tried a second time but just couldn't take it anywhere new. I was at a dead end and set it aside. Not once-- even in graduate school-- have I pulled it out to look at it and try again.
On my run Thursday --after remembering it--I decided to give it another look. When I got home I dug it out of my trunk--the trunk which Ryan has begged for years for me to throw out but I won't. It has "my papers" in it.However, I haven't even opened the trunk since before we were married. It just moves with me and sits in the garage covered in dirt and dust.
So on Friday--Lala this should please you-- I started writing again. And immediately I remembered why I had placed all that aside--the writing, not just the story.
I had forgotten how hard it is for me to create something out of nothing.
The pressure of it. The pressure that I am the only one with the answers is maddening. Can I tell you that since Friday I have googled to no end, gone to my bookshelf and asked people off the wall questions. Why? I am looking for answers. I know that I will not find them in any of those places but nonetheless I look, I search, I ask, and I google.
The problem is that when I started writing I thought I knew. I thought, for the most part, that I knew what was going to happen and that all it would take was some fleshing out and finally I would have that story out of my head. I thought it would be easy.
But it hasn't worked out like that at all. By the third sentence three new characters showed up. I was very surprised by them and at first I thought they were nothing but then in the second paragraph I gave one of them a name that in my heart I knew was too big for her to be just a background character. And once I wrote her? There was no taking her back.
Still, though, I didn't think it was a big deal.I thought I could easily work it in. But then I handed out another name and I realized that this wasn't just one story anymore, it was two. I have only written three pages but already I know so much more.
And it is invading my mind like you wouldn't believe. I dreamed about them--the characters-- the other night and today on my 10 mile run I thought about them the whole time. It has been stressing me out worrying about how I am going to make all this information work in one little short story. And it was then, today, somewhere in that 7th mile that I realized this isn't a short story at all. It is a novel and while they aren't yet written I know what the first two chapters are going to be.
Have I written them yet? No, not yet. I did have to go pick up my kids and play with them today, but tomorrow. Tomorrow I will make a go at it.
It is very hard for me to make myself sit down and write. It isn't so much the writing but rather the sitting still and intensely focusing. I feel overwhelmed and the need to get it done right then--afraid that if I leave it? I may never come back to it. But the sitting still is the hardest part. It is antithetical to my nature.
Really, it is. Just ask Lala and the pediatrician who diagnosed me withADHD at age five and prescribed Ritalin for 15 years of my life. But I-- regardless of difficulty-- really think that I am suppose to be a writer. Why else would I be plagued by these people and these stories that only exist in my imagination?
And so I am going to take the lead from that same professor who once liked my title so much and write first thing in the morning like he does. He once told me that writing is one of the hardest things he does: so he does it first thing everyday-- before he does anything else. So starting tomorrow, I am promising to get up at 5 am and write for one hour before I have to get the kids up for school. I am going to try to do it every week day.
And I am writing this here because blogging about running some days is the only thing that actually gets me out that door and running. So I am hoping that if I commit here to writing a novel I will actually do it.